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21. The Attack
AS soon as Silver disappeared, the captain, who had been
closely watching him, turned towards the interior of the
house and found not a man of us at his post but Gray. It was
the first time we had ever seen him angry.
“Quarters!” he roared. And then, as we all slunk back to our
places, “Gray,” he said, “I’ll put your name in the log; you’ve stood
by your duty like a seaman. Mr. Trelawney, I’m surprised at you,
sir. Doctor, I thought you had worn the king’s coat! If that was how
you served at Fontenoy, sir, you’d have been better in your berth.”
The doctor’s watch were all back at their loopholes, the rest
were busy loading the spare muskets, and everyone with a red
face, you may be certain, and a flea in his ear, as the saying is.
The captain looked on for a while in silence. Then he spoke.
“My lads,” said he, “I’ve given Silver a broadside. I pitched it in
red-hot on purpose; and before the hour’s out, as he said, we shall
be boarded. We’re outnumbered, I needn’t tell you that, but we
fight in shelter; and a minute ago I should have said we fought
with discipline. I’ve no manner of doubt that we can drub them, if
Then he went the rounds and saw, as he said, that all was clear.
On the two short sides of the house, east and west, there were
only two loopholes; on the south side where the porch was, two
again; and on the north side, five. There was a round score of
muskets for the seven of us; the firewood had been built into four
piles--tables, you might say--one about the middle of each side,
and on each of these tables some ammunition and four loaded